, Inspiration

A solid solution: The world’s first 3D-printed neighbourhood

worlds first 3d printed neighbourhood

Today, over 1.5 billion people live without access to adequate shelter — a basic human need. That’s over 20 percent of the world’s population without access to safe, secure and sanitate living conditions.

Even more shocking? This problem is only getting worse, with an estimated 3 billion people expected to be living without access to housing by 2050.

The growing number of slum dwellers is the result of both urbanisation and population growth that are outpacing the construction of new affordable homes.

What these impoverished communities need is a way to build homes quickly, and at scale.

Enter New Story; the social housing nonprofit pioneering solutions to end global homelessness by researching and designing innovative breakthroughs to share with other non-profits. And together with 3D-printing technology company ICON, they are on their way to building the world’s first 3D-printed neighbourhood.

Re-imagining the approach to homebuilding

Thanks to this joint project, local families living in extreme poverty in the region of Tabasco in south Mexico have been given new, resilient homes; designed with their input in mind too.

Each 500sq ft property has two bedrooms plus a living room, kitchen and bathroom, offering families a real quality of life and more stability within the wider community.

With each build taking just 24 hours to complete across several days, the project will eventually create 50 homes and provide a blueprint to support other disaster-torn communities.

With longevity in mind, the printed homes are expected to last as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) built homes, and withstand seismic activity and other natural disasters.

The 3D-printer itself can be operated by anyone with basic training thanks to the improvements in automation, mechatronics, and a suite of specialised software. The company also hires local workers to do the necessary labour that the printer cannot, such as plumbing, and uses local materials to facilitate these components where possible.

Supported by donations, New Story and ICON hope to service and get this technology into the hands of other non-profits so that affordable, dignified housing can be made available to everyone throughout the world.

You can donate to New Story here.

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